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(World Cup) S. Korea to look for holes on flanks vs. Brazil

All News 08:13 December 05, 2022

By Yoo Jee-ho

DOHA, Dec. 5 (Yonhap) -- There is no secret to the way Brazil can beat opponents. With gifted one-name stars like Neymar, Richarlison and Raphinha, the Selecao will come at you from many different angles.

But what about their defense? Can they be had on that end of the field?

South Korea will find out Monday night in Qatar, when the two countries meet in the round of 16 at the ongoing FIFA World Cup. It will kick off at 10 p.m. at Stadium 974 in Doha, or 4 a.m. Tuesday in South Korea.

Lee Kang-in of South Korea makes a pass against Portugal during the teams' Group H match at the FIFA World Cup at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, west of Doha, on Dec. 2, 2022. (Yonhap)

Lee Kang-in of South Korea makes a pass against Portugal during the teams' Group H match at the FIFA World Cup at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, west of Doha, on Dec. 2, 2022. (Yonhap)

Both countries have had some injury issues, and for Brazil, their defense corps is particularly banged up.

Left back Alex Telles has been ruled out of the tournament with a knee injury, and another left back, Alex Sandro, is also hurt.

During the group stage, Brazil used three different players in the right back position: Danilo, Eder Militao and Dani Alves. Danilo suffered an ankle injury in the first group match and missed the rest of the preliminary phase.

According to FIFA's Technical Study Group (TSG), 58 percent of all entries into the attacking third during the group stage took place on the flanks: 30 percent on the left and 28 percent on the right.

Two of South Korea's four goals during the group stage were set up by crosses from the left flank in open play. Both of them came in a 3-2 loss to Ghana, with Lee Kang-in's cross meeting Cho Gue-sung's head, and then Kim Jin-su's cross doing the same.

Lee Kang-in of South Korea tracks the ball during his team's Group H match against Portugal at the FIFA World Cup at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, west of Doha, on Dec. 2, 2022. (Yonhap)

Lee Kang-in of South Korea tracks the ball during his team's Group H match against Portugal at the FIFA World Cup at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, west of Doha, on Dec. 2, 2022. (Yonhap)

Lee, the left-footed wizard of a midfielder, was a sparkplug off the bench in the first two games. Though he was somewhat held in check in his first start against Portugal, Lee still has an uncanny knack for finding a passing lane when there doesn't seem to be one.

Kim has started all three matches in his first World Cup and he has been at his usual, effective self.

The 30-year-old has been South Korea's top left back for nearly a decade but missed the past two World Cups because of injuries suffered just prior to the big tournaments.

Kim Jin-su of South Korea (R) tries to hold off Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal (C) during the teams' Group H match at the FIFA World Cup at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, west of Doha, on Dec. 2, 2022. (Yonhap)

Kim Jin-su of South Korea (R) tries to hold off Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal (C) during the teams' Group H match at the FIFA World Cup at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, west of Doha, on Dec. 2, 2022. (Yonhap)

Kim dealt with some hamstring issues this fall but has been playing through some lingering pains so far. His offensive instincts will be crucial against Brazil, while he will also have to stand his ground at the other end.

At the prematch press conference on Sunday, Kim said he was not intimidated by the prospect of facing high-end offensive talent of Brazil.

"We also have some great players on our team," Kim said. "I've been going up against those guys in training. So there is not that much pressure on me to face Brazil."

Kim Jin-su of South Korea (R) attempts a shot against Portugal during the teams' Group H match at the FIFA World Cup at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, west of Doha, on Dec. 2, 2022. (Yonhap)

Kim Jin-su of South Korea (R) attempts a shot against Portugal during the teams' Group H match at the FIFA World Cup at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, west of Doha, on Dec. 2, 2022. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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